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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pelosi's Treat For Trial Lawyers, Trick For Everyone Else

The folks at the Big Government blog have found a provision buried in the almost 2,000 page healthcare bill that is treat for the lawyers and a trick for the rest of us:

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

So, you can’t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you’ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!

Is this the type of tort reform that Obama promised back in the September speech in front of Congress, or did Nancy Pelosi try to sneak an Easter egg for her trial lawyer buddies?

There isn’t any specific number that can be attributed to tort abuse, but most believe the savings to be in the billions, if there were actual tort reform included in the health reform bill nationwide. Alas, this is not exactly the kind of reform that will be needed to drive down costs. By taking away the states’ right to limit lawyer fees or to put caps on how much can be won by the plaintiff, if they win the case, it could only raise medical costs and insurance premiums not lower them.

Yet Another Poll That Fails to Ask the Important Question About the Public Option

Liberals are holding up polls like this up as proof of Americans approval of the Democrats’ healthcare plan including the public option:

In our most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll respondents were asked:

"Which of these would you prefer – (a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress); or (a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance)?"

Fifty one percent said they preferred the public option; 37 percent said they preferred a bill with some support from Republicans in Congress. Six percent said neither and seven percent expressed no opinion.

Many of the polls that they say is proof that the majority of Americans want the current health plan with the public option fail to ask about the potential consequences of such a massive government program, ie bankrupting the country. All they tend to ask about is the their feelings on the public option in more general terms like: Do you like the idea of the public option?

In my post a few days ago, I brought up an interview done with Sen. Mary Landrieu where she hit this problem right on the head:

Asked about polls showing public support for a government plan, Landrieu said the questions should be phrased differently."

I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no," she said.

I know that I’ve used that quote twice, now, but it just seemed so perfect for this post, as well. It is a good example of the type of polls that Sen. Landrieu and I were talking about yesterday.

To me, this poll shows that people definitely want something done, and they don't care about the partisan squabbling. It doesn't necessarily mean that they want the public option at all costs.

NY23: Scozzafava Quits, What Does This Mean for Republican Party?

A bomb just went off in New York. After the latest Siena poll that showed that the Republican candidate was taking a nose dive, the Scozzafava campaign announced that they were suspending:

Dede Scozzafava, the Republican and Independence parties candidate, announced Saturday that she is suspending her campaign for the 23rd Congressional District and releasing all her supporters.

The state Assemblywoman has not thrown her support to either Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, or Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate."

Today, I again seek to act for the good of our community," Ms. Scozzafava wrote in a letter to friends and supporters. "It is increasingly clear that pressure is mounting on many of my supporters to shift their support. Consequently, I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so. I am and have always been a proud Republican. It is my hope that with my actions today, my party will emerge stronger and our district and our nation can take an important step towards restoring the enduring strength and economic prosperity that has defined us for generations."

This will free up Hoffman to take most of the voters that would of voted for Scozzafava. There really haven’t been any polls that I’ve seen, yet, that say how many of the her supporters will support Hoffman, but I would say that it is more likely that most will support Hoffman rather than support Owens.

On Twitter, Jordan Raynor asked a good question:

Does Scozzafava dropping out diminish the implications of a Hoffman win nationally? #ny23

I don’t think that it does diminish what has be accomplished by the grassroots Hoffman revolution. In fact, it validates all that it was supposed to achieve. The local Republican party made the choice of running someone who is more middle of the road because they believed that voters were looking for candidates that were more like Obama and other more liberal candidates not like Reagan. They had a rude awakening ever since Palin’s endorsement of Hoffman brought the race into the national spotlight even more than it already was. Palin made the people in the NY23 district take a closer look at Hoffman, and they liked what they saw from him much more than Scozzafava.

As a result, her numbers plummeted, and Hoffman pulled into a virtual tie with the Democrat Bill Owens. Hopefully, the national party is taking notes. We don’t them to run people like John McCain. We need them to realize Reaganism isn’t dead. The liberal agenda of the Obama Administration is awakening people to remember why they don’t want the United States to become a more liberal country.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lieberman: "Probably Will Support" Future Congressional Republican Candidates

Lieberman is at it again. He must be giving Obama,Pelosi and Reid ulcers by now. He has pretty much gave the finger to the rest of the Democratic establishment especially the liberal wing:

Sounding more like an independent than a Democrat, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., tells ABC News he will campaign for some Republican candidates during the 2010 midterm elections and may not seek the Democratic Senate nomination when he runs for re-election in 2012.

"I probably will support some Republican candidates for Congress or Senate in the election in 2010. I'm going to call them as I see them,"

"There's a hard core of partisan, passionate, hardcore Republicans," Lieberman said. "There's a hard core of partisan Democrats on the other side. And in between is the larger group, which is people who really want to see the right thing done, or want something good done for this country and them -- and that means, sometimes, the better choice is somebody who's not a Democrat."

This is, actually, quite refreshing to me. Too many times, politicians blindly endorse someone just because they have a D or a R after their name with no regard to their actual stance on the issues. In the name of party unity, they run the risk of cheapening and watering-down the core beliefs of the party by endorsing someone who doesn't best represent the core beliefs of the party. I'm not saying that they have to believe exactly as every other Republican does, but they should be similar.

I believe this is what big Newt ran into when he endorsed Dede Scozzafava for Congress instead of Doug Hoffman, and then, criticized those that didn't follow suit and endorse the Conservative Party candidate.

That type of blind loyalty is a huge part of what is wrong with politics, today. No one thinks for themselves anymore. They are too afraid of upsetting the "party establishment".

It'll be very interesting to see how Reid, Pelosi, etc will respond to this. He almost lost his Senate seat and chairmanship, when he endorsed McCain and spoke at the Republican National Convention. The only reason why he didn't was, probably, because he is the magic number 60 in the Senate. If he keeps bucking them, they may give up on him even if he is number 60.

Michael Steele Backs Hoffman: Two Republicans Are in the Race

In an interview with Politico, Michael Steele caved to the those who were backing the Conservative Candidate Hoffman. He didn't chastise other Republicans like Palin, Armey, Pawlenty, etc for not endorsing their party's candidate:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Friday that a victory by Doug Hoffman, the third-party candidate in the Nov. 3 New York special election, is a win for the GOP.

The actual Republican nominee, Dede Scozzafava, trails Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee, and Democrat Bill Owens by double-digits according to a recent poll. But Steele argued during an interview with POLITICO that the GOP doesn’t need to worry about Scozzafava’s lagging ratings because Hoffman is essentially a Republican.

Unlike Newt Gingrich, Steele doesn't feel that going for Hoffman will destroy the party. In fact, he said that he will embrace the third party candidate:

“I don’t split the party into conservative or not,” he said. “I’m looking as the national chairman to walk out of there one way or the other with a win.”

“You’ve got two Republicans running in that race. My upside is that one of them will likely win,” Steele said. “We want to be supporting the one that wins.”

Asked if he would support Hoffman in 2010 if the Conservative Party candidate won the special election and sought re-election, Steele responded: “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Is he a Republican?” Steele asked. “He’s the Conservative Party nominee, but he ran initially as a Republican.”

This is a change from what has been said, so far, not from Steele himself but other state party leaders who nominated the more liberal Dede Scozzafava who were furious with Republicans from outside their state throwing their candidate under the bus.

Apparently, they've seen the writing on the wall, and the decision has been made by New York's 23rd district. The people want a more conservative Republican candidate not a RINO running for office.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is the White House Bowling Alley the New Lincoln Bedroom?

This actually came out yesterday, but I was busy at my other job and never got around to posting this.

It looks like Obama is taking a page out of the Clinton Administration:

During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.

High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.

One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.

Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.

This highly unethical, if not illegal. Bill Clinton had a similar scandal involving over 800 high-dollar donators that received sleepover parties in the Lincoln Bedroom. So, this is not a new concept.

This very hypocritical of the Obama Administration. On the campain trail, Robert Gibbs took a shot at Hillary for her husband's Lincoln Bedroom scandal back in Feburary:

"We aren't going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom."

Isn't it ironic that a campaign team that chastised Hillary and her husband for a campaign finance scandal involving "renting" time at the White House is now involved in his own scandal?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rep Stupak (D-MI) Doubles Down On Vow to Stop Healthcare Reform From Funding Abortions, Will Work With GOP

Back in late September, 183 Democrats sent a letter to Pelosi urging her to allow an up or down vote regarding whether the healthcare plan will fund abortion or not. So far, she has refused.

Now, one of the main architects of that letter, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), has further angered Pelosi in his pursuit to keep federal money from funding abortions:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) on Tuesday threatened that he may work with Republicans to torpedo healthcare reform unless he gets a vote to strip abortion-related provisions out of the House bill.

Stupak wants a floor vote on a measure that would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions. And in an interview on C-SPAN on Tuesday, he suggested if Democratic leaders don’t give him the vote, he’ll work with Republicans.

I'm sure she is more that "not happy" with you, Bart. She is probably downright livid.

To his credit, he seems to be standing firm on this issue:

The Michigan Democrat said he will not be backing down: “I’m comfortable with where I’m at. This is who I am. It’s reflective of my district. If it costs me my seat, so be it.”

Most of the talk has been about whether Reid can pass the bill in the Senate, but I have some reservations about it passing the House even with heavy Democratic slant. In the end, the House will probably pass it, but it'll pass barely by a slimmer margin than many realize.

Updated: WSJ: Public Option Could Triple Insurance Premiums

Democrats claim that the public option will not increase people's current insurance premiums. However, a new study by Wellpoint shows that some insurance premiums could actually triple under the health reform legislation:

At the request of Congressional delegations worried about their constituents—call it a public service—WellPoint mined its own actuarial data to model ObamaCare in the 14 states where it runs Blue Cross plans. The study therefore takes into account market and demographic differences that other industry studies have not, such as the one from the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, which looked at aggregate national trends.

In all of the 14 states WellPoint scrutinized, ObamaCare would drive up premiums for the small businesses and individuals who are most of WellPoint's customers. (Other big insurers, like Aetna, focus on the market among large businesses.) Young and healthy consumers will see the largest increases—their premiums would more than triple in some states—though average middle-class buyers will pay more too.

In the spirit of full-disclosure, Wellpoint is an insurance company and has their own agenda in this debate. Democrats made this perfectly clear in their response to this report:

"This is yet another insurance-industry report that twists the facts to produce a skewed result," averred Linda Douglass, the White House communications director on health care. Said a spokesman for the Senate Finance Committee, "This is akin to the tobacco companies commissioning another study claiming nicotine isn't addictive and cigarettes don't cause cancer."

You may have to take this report with a grain of salt, but it is still some pretty damning results. It is a very detailed with a lot of stats and analysis to back it up.


Did Ed Slip Barney Frank Truth Serum? Admits That Their Goal Is To Increase the Role of Government

It's not often that Barney gets attacked from the left and gets told that he's not liberal enough. It's refreshing to hear the some truth from a politician, when he pulled back the curtain on the liberal's true agenda: more government across the board at all costs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Evan Bayh Joins Blue Dogs Against the Public Option, Further Adding To Reid's Woes

According to Major Garrett on Twitter, here and here, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) joins Lieberman and Landrieu against Harry Reid's public option plan:

Dem Sen. Evan Bayh tells Fox he's uncommitted on Reid Public Option. "There are a variety of things that I think might work better"

More Bayh: If Public Option raises deficit: "I would have just a very hard time moving forward on something like that."

This is basically the same as both Lieberman and Landrieu said in my last post, but it's interesting that the number of Democrats coming out against the public option is growing rapidly.

Liebermann, Landrieu Throw Reid & His Health Care Reform Bill With Public Option Under the Bus

Just after Harry Reid said that he's close to getting 60 votes in the senate to pass his healthcare reform bill, Sen. Joe Lieberman threw a monkey wrench into the majority leader's plans, earlier today:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care reform bill.

Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is positioning himself as a fiscal hawk on the issue, said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program — even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as Reid’s has said the Senate bill will.

"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now."

Lieberman added that he’d vote against a public option plan “even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line."

His comments confirmed that Reid is short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill out of the Senate, even after Reid included the opt-out provision. Several other moderate Democrats expressed skepticism at the proposal as well, but most of the wavering Democratic senators did not go as far as Lieberman Tuesday, saying they were waiting to see the details.

The Democrats had been courting Maine Republican Olympia Snowe to vote with the Democrats for a false sense of bi-partisanship and to be a "shield" for the Blue Dogs in their more conservative districts from being labeled a liberal, if they voted for the bill.

Now, they still seem to be having trouble even getting some of their own people to stand behind Reid's bill with the public option. Senator Mary Landrieu had some harsh words to say about the public option, as well::

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) echoed Republican criticisms of a public option today, suggesting it would bankrupt the country.

Describing the public option as a government-run, taxpayer subsidized, national insurance plan, Landrieu said it would likely replicate the problems faced by Medicare and Medicaid.

Why don't we fix the two public options we have now instead of creating a third one, she told NPR's Tell Me More.

Ouch! She hit it on the right on the head here. We already have a program much like the public option plan presented in the bills, and they are going bankrupt. We wouldn't hire the failed CEO of Lehman to run a multi-million business. Why would we get our government with an equally bad track record to run insurance for millions of Americans?

Reid, of course, jumped the gun the other day, when he all but declared "Mission Accomplished!" on the public option battle. Today, we see that is far from reality. We have not heard the last of this, yet.

There have been some polls that say that the majority of Americans like the idea of the public option, but Landrieu blasts the pollsters on how they got those results:

Asked about polls showing public support for a government plan, Landrieu said the questions should be phrased differently.

I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no, she said.

Again, right on the money. The various pollsters, especially from left-leaning organizations like Kos, intentionally ask the questions in a way to where they are more likely to get a more liberal result.

As the Democrats realize that the public doesn't like their plan overall, the more the Democrats will have to distance themselves from the public option, if they want to be re-elected.

All this does not bode well for the survival of the Reid's bill and the public option.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great News: Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY): Cap-N-Trade Will Be Good For Wall Street, Economy

In a Wall Street Journal The freshman Democratic senator from New York that replaced Hillary Clinton recently tried to put her own spin on the cap-n-trade debate:

In this turmoil, it may seem hard to imagine a financial market poised to deliver significant growth. However, a rising number of investors and financiers see one in the trading and reduction of carbon. According to financial experts, carbon permits could quickly become the world's largest commodities market, growing to as much as $3 trillion by 2020 from just over $100 billion today. With thousands of firms and energy producers buying and selling permits to emit carbon, transaction fees for exchanges and clearing alone could top nearly half a billion dollars. If Congress establishes proper oversight of a carbon market, New York's financial talent, expertise and institutions are uniquely suited to provide the tools and innovation for a new commodities market of this size. Firms wishing to invest over the long term will need to turn to our financial sector to create the emerging products and provide the capital that would allow them to make green energy investments.

An infrastructure is already beginning to form, as entities like the New York Stock Exchange, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and the new Green Exchange are developing carbon trading platforms or expanding their environmental trading desks. There are nearly 100 funds already focused on green investments.

Basically, what she is saying is that instituting a cap-n-trade policy will benefit us economically because it will be able to be traded on the market like any other commodity or stock. That sounds good in theory, but in reality, it will drive up the costs even more.

Let's consider that what she is describing is not unlike what the market is already with oil speculation. Because of oil speculation, the price of gas went up to $4-5 per gallon, needlessly, last summer, and the prices of everything oil-related skyrocketed, as well. The same kind of speculation could happen with the proposed "carbon market".

Carbon trading would be just as disastrous, if not more, than that. Everyone uses carbon-based energy at one time or another, especially when you consider that all of the aforementioned oil-based energy is, also, carbon-based. So, in a way, oil and its derivatives will be traded in the market not just once but twice, driving up the prices of just about everything in the process.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Louisiana Judge Recuses Himself From Marrying Couple Because They're Interracial, Officials Call For Him to Lose Job

Did I just step into a alternate reality where Loving Vs Virginia never outlawed bans on interracial marriages? In this day and age, this is ridiculous.

Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish in southeastern Louisiana, wouldn't issue a license to or preside over the nuptials for Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, of Hammond, La., who is black. The two were later married by another area justice of the peace.

Bardwell, who's held his post more than 30 years, said he refused to perform the ceremony because of his concern for the future of the couple's children.

Bardwell told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith , "I've had countless numbers of people that was born in that situation, and that they claim that the blacks or the whites didn't accept the children. And I didn't want to put the children in that position."

First of all, it not his job to worry about their kids that aren't even alive yet. Second, it is blatantly racist and unconstitutional. He should be to resign. After all, I can't see him getting re-elected anyway, not after this stunt.

Gov. Jindal and LA Sen. Landrieu have already called for his resignation. Sen. Vitter is tap-dancing around the issue a bit, but he'll probably follow suit, as well.

Small Donors Push RNC Ahead of DNC Raising Campaign Cash, Debunking the Democratic "Party of the Common Man" Myth?

This story is a couple of days old, but I saw something interesting that I didn't notice anyone else mentioning :

Here’s another data point: the Democratic National Committee said it raised about $8 million in September. That’s less than the Republican National Committee, which raised $8.8 million in the same time period, and the second month running the RNC has pulled ahead.

Overall, the Democrats are still ahead, with $139.4 million raised to date compared to $125 million for the GOP.

That edge is attributable in part to the Democratic fund-raising arms for House and Senate candidates, both of which out-raised their Republican counterparts by nearly two-to-one margins last month.

<*The GOP resurrection, meanwhile, is being aided by a rise in small donors.*> In some of the most competitive 2010 Senate races, Republican candidates raised more than the Democrats did in the most-recent quarter.

This is interesting because Obama was said to have a huge amount of small donors to thank for a huge influx of cash to their campaign war chest. This was used to "prove" that Obama had more "grassroots" support than McCain. Even though, it turned out to be a huge lie and fabrication.

If this is correct, this would show that the "everyday" American are, actually, more inclined to be conservative and side with the Republicans more than the liberal Democrats. That would fly in the face of the belief that Democrats are the party of the common man, and the Republicans are the party of the rich CEOs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Palate Cleanser: House Committee Unanimously Voted to Continue Investigating Rangel, BiPartisanship

Earlier today, the committee that leads the investigation into Rangel's questionable tax memory has decided that there is enough evidence to keep the lead tax writer for the House on the hot seat for tax evasion:

A House committee voted unanimously Thursday to expand its investigation into New York's Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, CBS 2 has learned.

Congressman Rangel's sudden recollection this summer of at least $500,000 in cash assets and tens of thousands of dollars of investment income has gotten him into more hot water.

The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct issued a statement on Thursday that is now going to investigate his apparent lapses in memory as part of a probe that has already lasted 16 months.

Watch Out Mommy: The Taxman Is Coming

New moms may need to redo their budgets and make more room for Uncle Sam because he's coming to reach into their wallets deeper.

When Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus proposed taxing medical devices to raise $40 billion over the next 10 years for his health care plan, opponents started digging in and looking at what would be taxed. It turned out feminine products, like tampons, were classified as class I medical devices and thus, the “tampon tax” was born.

The backlash was quick and severe enough against the idea that the committee quickly drafted new language that would exempt those necessities from the tax, along with all other class I devices, like tongue depressors, and decided to only tax class II medical devices and higher that cost less than $100.

They sure did backpeddle on that one. It was like a 2-yr-old who had his/her hand caught in the cookie jar.

Apparently, they are determined to make women of child-bearing age pay more one way or another:

But, just wait for the revolt to start again because women will still pay a price under the new structure. Particularly new moms who want to use a powered breast pump to bottle milk for their babies. Those devices, labeled class II, typically retails for more than $100.

Unfortunately, they didn't stop there. They decided to go after just about anyone else that might ever need major medical care:

And, all the rest of the more expensive, higher-class medical devices used by both men an women -- such as pacemakers, ventilators, X-ray machines, powered wheelchairs and surgical needles -- will be taxed, too.

As an added slap to the face of the patients that the Democrats are claiming to be trying to save money on health care:

(Wanda Moebius, vice president of policy communications at the Advanced Medical Technology Association) also noted that the proposed taxes would be based on a medical-device producer’s revenue, not profit, which will require businesses to pay more money to the government than a tax on profits.

Great! The political tax machine needs more of our money, and they pulled just about every trick in the book to achieve their objective of paying for the horrendous public option health plan by taxing various aspects of health care. Does robbing Peter to pay Paul mean anything to anyone?

How are they going to save people money on health care, if they are raising taxes on the same health care that they're supposed to be paying less for?

No wonder some Democrats are hesitating to let the media and the rest of us common folk actually have the ablility to read the bills.

Great News: CBO: Deficit Has Tripled This Year, Change Has Come

To be fair, Bush was still in office when the fiscal year started in September of last year. So, one might argue that this deficit isn't 100% Obama's fault, but let's be real, $787B of that is from Obama's Porkulus boondoggle: Now, we have gone from the frying pan and straight into the fire of debt:

The CBO said Wednesday that the deficit for FY09, which ended Sept. 30, totaled about $1.4 trillion, a $950 billion increase over the shortfall posted in FY08.

This on top of the upcoming healthcare reform and climate change bills that will also cost hundreds of billions more. Where are all the Democrats that were terrified of the rising deficits under Bush? Most of them have been silent on this even though Obama's spending is far higher than Bush's.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Much Better Grayson: Doesn't Really WANT People, They Just Don't Care Either Way

Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson does his best John Murtha impression on a local radio show, when he tries to clarify what he really meant, when he said Republicans wants people to die:

In an interview on the local radio show Doc & Grace in the Morning, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) explained that his comments about Republicans have been twisted into meaning that they somehow want Americans to die -- when the real truth is that they don't care.

"You know, this is being transmogrified into something else," Grayson complained. "Honestly, the people I deal with, the people I actually am across the aisle with every day, I don't think they care about ordinary people. I don't think that the Republicans in Congress actually have a heart. I'll be honest with you."

"But that's not the same as saying that they want you -- I mean, let's get straight what I said," he explained. "I said their health care plan is 'don't get sick,' and if you do get sick, then die quickly. And what did I mean by that? Because if you get sick and those bills are mounting, and you're in the hospital and you're feeling weaker and weaker, and you've got no way to pay for this, then what are they gonna do for you? Nothing. They're gonna do nothing."

That makes it so much clearer. He's definitely trying to be the Murtha of 2009 and win the award for the stupidest comment of the year by a politician.

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Month After Cash For Clunkers: No Change, Auto Sales Still Falls While Gas Consumption Doesn't

Cash for Clunkers was one the brain-child of Democrats who were looking to stimulate the economy while lowering carbon emissions. This was supposed to more environment-friendly programs designed to revive the flailing car industry:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared in August that, "This is the one stimulus program that seems to be working better than just about any other program."

Unfortunately, it did neither. Just as your humble pundit and others predicted, it was a complete failure:

If that's true, heaven help the other programs. Last week U.S. automakers reported that new car sales for September, the first month since the clunker program expired, sank by 25% from a year earlier. Sales at GM and Chrysler fell by 45% and 42%, respectively. Ford was down about 5%. Some 700,000 cars were sold in the summer under the program as buyers received up to $4,500 to buy a new car they would probably have purchased anyway, so all the program seems to have done is steal those sales from the future. Exactly as critics predicted.

Cash for clunkers had two objectives: help the environment by increasing fuel efficiency, and boost car sales to help Detroit and the economy. It achieved neither. According to Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer, at best "the reduction in gasoline consumption will cut our oil consumption by 0.2 percent per year, or less than a single day's gasoline use." Burton Abrams and George Parsons of the University of Delaware added up the total benefits from reduced gas consumption, environmental improvements and the benefit to car buyers and companies, minus the overall cost of cash for clunkers, and found a net cost of roughly $2,000 per vehicle. Rather than stimulating the economy, the program made the nation as a whole $1.4 billion poorer.

So after Obama, Pelosi, and Reid spent $1.4 billion of our kids money, we're back to where we were before the spending folly.

The Wall-Street Journal article summed it up perfectly. So, I'll end the post with that:

In the category of all-time dumb ideas, cash for clunkers rivals the New Deal brainstorm to slaughter pigs to raise pork prices. The people who really belong in the junk yard are the wizards in Washington who peddled this economic malarkey.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

McCain's Chief Campaign Advisor Preemptively Calls Palin's Possible Presidential Run "Catastrophic"

With Palin's already #1 Bestseller, "Going Rogue", set to be released in a few weeks, John McCain's chief strategist from his 2008 presidential campaign, decided to throw Alaska's former governor and potential presidential candidate in 2012 under the bus:

Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former chief campaign strategist, said today that if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin were to be the Republican nominee, it would be "catastrophic" for the Republican Party.

"I think that she has talents, but my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican candidate in 2012, and in fact, were she to be the nominee, we would have a catastrophic election result."

"In the year since the election has ended, she has done nothing to expand her appeal beyond the base. ... Th[e] independent vote is going to be up for grabs in 2012. That middle of the electorate is going to be determinative of the outcome of the elections. I just don't see that if you look at the things she has done over the year ... that she is going to expand that base in the middle."

This isn't the first time that Mr. Schmidt has gone off against Gov. Palin. Even though they have denied repeatedly, Steve and Nicole Wallace have been called "prime suspects" in the search for the origination of the leaks that said there was in-fighting in the McCain camp. After all, the main source of information that was leaked was an exchange of emails between Palin and Schmidt "magically appeared" in the media's inbox. So, it was either someone close to Palin or Schmidt, and Palin had nothing to gain at all from their release. So, that leaves Schmidt.

As Allahpundit points out, the upcoming Palin memoir will, more than likely, include some unsavory comments about her experiences on the 2008 campaign trail. Many of those comments may be directed at Mr. Schmidt, and may be trying to get the first shot in before Palin drops her bombshell on November 17.

What gets me the most about what he said above is that he seems so certain that a Palin candidacy would be a disaster based on her lack of exposure and action now, over three years away from the next presidential election, but later on in the same interview he says this:

"What counts politically is where we are a year from today." Schmidt said that while he thinks 2010 will be a "good Republican year," it won't be a referendum on President Obama.

So, let me get this straight. Since Palin isn't calling a press conference once a week or attacking Obama's policy everyday in the news today, she is going to lose three years in the future, but for Obama, what happens now won't affect him much, politically, a year from now. That's a bit of a double standard.

Sarah Palin is, probably, doing the smart thing, right now. She is, for the most part, keeping a low but not invisible profile. She'll release a statement about something that is going through Congress or being pushed by Obama every few weeks.

If she exposed herself more this far before 2012, people would be tired of hearing her name by the time the election came around. She has plenty of time to get her agenda across the voting public.before the Iowa primary. What's the rush?

Of course, there is a chance that she could have a Couric-like moment, and it'll sink her chances. However, how would that sink the whole party as Schmidt suggests?

Deficit Is Too High, It's Time For the Other 47% to Pay Their Fair Share

Democratic leadership in Congress and the White House are having a hard time reigning in their spending. As a result, deficit spending is at an all-time high. So, the Democrats are looking into ways to tap into a currently untapped resource, the 47% of Americans that don't pay any federal taxes at all.

What is the liberals favorite way to close the deficit gap? Cut funding to Planned Parenthood? Unfortunately, no. They want to raise taxes but not just on the top 10%, but, also, on the above-mentioned 47%. Everyone will feel the effects of the new tax proposition.

President Obama has been steadfast in his pledge that he won't raise taxes on those making less than $250,000. But that doesn't mean only high-income households will be subject to higher taxes.

An increasing number of influential Democrats and fiscal-policy experts have signaled that lawmakers will have to get a handle on the deficit. And they recommend seriously considering the creation of a value-added tax (VAT) on top of the federal income tax.

First of all, did he just say that Obama has been "steadfast" while making sure that us peasants are paying more taxes? Yes, I believe that he did. Smokers might have a different take on that statement. Soon enough, we will all feel the burn, if the cap-n-tax bill that Obama likes is passed.

Anyway, meanwhile back at the Hall of Justice:

A VAT is a slick way of taxing us indirectly without making it sound like they are taxing us. Democrats are very good at that. Aren't they?

For those who don't know what a VAT is:

A VAT is tax on consumption similar to a national sales tax. But it's not just paid at the cash register. It's levied at every stage of production. So all businesses involved in making a product or performing a service would pay a VAT. And then the end-user -- such as the retail customer -- ponies up as well.

Basically, they want to tax the businesses who participate in any way in the manufacturing process of certain goods and services all the way down the assembly line until it gets to us, the consumer. Even though, they will be taxing businesses, mostly, who do you the companies will transfer the added cost to? Yep, us.

Ok, some will be saying that maybe they'll just be taxing high end items like Corvettes, Armani suits, penthouse hotel suites or Starbucks coffee, so the "everyday Americans" won't be paying more, but that couldn't be further from the truth:

That could mean more money out of everyone's pockets when buying virtually anything -- sweaters, school books, furniture, pottery classes, dinners out.

While they don't plan on enacting the plan until the economy recovers, it'll still be a jobs killer and will stifle economic progress, when it is enacted, if it is.

If you are an "everyday American" that wants to wear hand me downs, stay with the same furniture you bought when Carter was president, never go to school, and stay a recluse, you won't be taxed. However, if you are, gird your wallet. The Democrats had an idea.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

House Republican Leadership Set Their Sights on Charlie Rangel's Committee Chairmanship

With an investigation underway and possible disciplinary hearing pending regarding Charlie Rangel's alleged tax evasion, Republicans have begun pushing for Charlie Rangel, Democrat, to step down from the head of the "tax-writing" committee:

House Republicans are attempting to turn the heat up the heat on Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel with a plan to offer a resolution next week calling on the New York Democrat to relinquish his gavel until an ethics investigation is completed.

The privileged resolution will be offered by Texas GOP Rep. John Carter, an elected member of House leadership. It is the third such attempt by House Republicans to highlight the ethical problems surrounding the veteran lawmaker.

It would be the first resolution offered on the House floor since Rangel filed amended disclosure reports in August that showed at least $500,000 in previously unreported assets.

“To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as chairman is the same as allowing a confessed bank robber to serve as Chairman of the Banking Committee during the trial,” Carter said in a statement on his intention to offer the resolution unless Rangel voluntarily resigns before next week (which is unlikely)

In response, Rep. Rangel said that it is "unfair" that they want him to step down while he is under a disciplinary committee determines whether he is guilty of a felony or not.

I don't know why it's "unfair". Eliot Spitzer had to resign because of a misdemeanor. Why is it so "unfair" to step down because of a felony?

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Concerning Constitutionality of Local Handgun Bans Next Year

One of the first cases that the new Supreme Court, with the addition of Justice Sotomayor, will be a case involving an issue of apprehension for conservatives, the local application of the Second Amendment:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether strict local and state gun control laws violate the Second Amendment, ensuring another high-profile battle over the rights of gun owners. The court said it will review a lower court ruling that upheld a handgun ban in Chicago. Gun rights supporters challenged gun laws in Chicago and some suburbs immediately following the high court's decision in June 2008 that struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia, a federal enclave.

The last court, with Souter, decided against a similar ban in DC, earlier this year. However, since DC is a federal district and not an independent city or state, it doesn't automatically {pertain} to the rest of America on a local government level. So, the court took this opportunity to clarify their position on the issue.

As an appellate judge, Sotomayor decided in a case similar to this one in New York. That particular case was, also, appealed, but the Chicago case was taken instead. So, Sotomayor wouldn't have to recuse herself.

In the New York case, she voted to uphold the ban just as Souter voted to uphold the DC ban. So, the court didn't tilt anymore to the left with the addition of Justice Sotomayor. The dynamic of the is the same as before. As a result, there is a very good chance that the court will rule the same way and overturn all total handgun bans across the country. That would be a major victory for the Second Amendment.

The case will be heard sometime next year.

Exit Thought:

I find it extra delicious that they are using a case from Obama's home district. Was it intentional?